Opened as a spa in 1838, guests travelled from all over the country to benefit from the curing properties of the mineral springs containing sulfur, iron, magnesium, and calcium. A grand Greek Revival style mansion large enough to accommodate 200 people was built in 1846, making it one of the largest wooden hotels built in Alabama.

The health resort which gained the nickname "Saratoga of the South," stayed open through the Civil War until it closed after the turn of the century when the novelty of mineral springs wore off. The State of Alabama purchased the property in 1934.